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How to make six-footers: 10 Rules From Dave Stockton

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By Dave Stockton
With Guy Yocom
Photo By Scott Mcdermott
October 2008

1. Take “try” out of the equation

When I faced a 15-foot putt to win the 1976 PGA Championship, the amount of time I took surprised a lot of people. Instead of grinding over it, I took less time than usual — 15 seconds in all. But I did not rush. I knew that if I got hung up dwelling on how much the putt meant, my chances of holing it would have dropped dramatically.

The moment you try to make a putt, you’ll miss it. Conscious effort doesn’t work. Try this experiment: Get a pen and paper and jot your signature. Now write your name a second time, trying to duplicate your first signature exactly. Chances are you’ll make a mess of it, because instead of doing it automatically, you’re now applying conscious effort. Your approach to the six-footer should be like signing your name: Do it briskly and subconsciously.

2. Think speed more than line

Speed and line are equally important, but the amateur tends to be preoccupied with the line. As you read the green, do it with the idea that you’ll roll the ball 16 inches past the hole — if you miss. After you’ve set up and taken dead aim, don’t give the line another thought. Avoid being too aggressive with the six-footer, because the edges of the hole might come into play and cause a nasty lip-out.

3. Stay away from dead straight

When Tiger Woods faced that 12-foot putt on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines to send the U.S. Open into a playoff, he called in his caddie, Steve Williams, to help with the read. I’ll bet Tiger saw the putt as breaking to the left but was bothered by a hunch that it might be dead straight. If there’s one thing a good putter hates, it’s an absolutely straight putt. The reason is, if you start the putt straight, you have a margin for error of only half a cup on either side. Tiger needed Steve to confirm that the putt would break left, because the entire cup would be exposed if Tiger started the ball to the right. The putt indeed broke a couple inches to the left, and Tiger snuck it in on the right edge of the hole.

If the putt for all the marbles looks straight, look again. Study the area near the hole. Remember, the ball will be rolling so slowly when it gets within two feet that even the tiniest slope will cause it to break. Try to at least favor one side.
stockton

4. You’ve already made the putt

You might have heard that it’s helpful to form a positive image of the ball going in, but you should take it further than that. Imagine the ball tracking the entire six feet, as though you’re watching a video replay of the putt dropping. This image should be so convincing that, if the putt doesn’t fall, you should be shocked. That’s how I feel when I’m putting well — I’m absolutely stunned when the ball doesn’t go in.

Do everything you can to place the six-footer in the past tense. How many times have you missed a putt, raked it back for another try and instinctively knocked it in? Adopt this “second chance” mentality on your first putt.

5. Be a painter, not a carpenter

For the good putter, the most common miss under pressure is the push. When the heat is on, there’s a tendency to hit at the ball instead of stroking through it. Like driving a nail with a hammer, the putter stops abruptly at impact. It doesn’t release to a square position, and the clubface is aimed to the right. Putt as though you’re pulling a paintbrush, your hands leading and the clubhead trailing as you stroke through.

6. Your last thought: none at all

You should have no coherent thought as you draw the putter back. Avoid saying an actual word or phrase to yourself, even a seemingly positive one such as smooth. All it will do is block the overall sense of flow you must feel to make a good stroke. The only “thought” should be a vague feeling of relaxation, readiness and rhythm. All you’re doing is allowing your subconscious mind to take over so you can invite that wonderful sense of feel where you know the putt is going to go in. Remember, there is no actual language when you’re in that sharp mental state called The Zone.

7. Get your eyes over the ball

Putting mechanics are mostly a matter of preference, but there is one universal rule for putts from six feet and in: Eyes over the ball. For most players, that means standing closer to the ball. This simplifies things enormously. It’ll help you swing the putter straight back and through. It’ll make you less handsy and decrease your chances of fanning the face open and closed excessively. And you’ll see the line better. Come to think of it, it’s a good rule for all putts.

8. Focus on that first inch

In determining the line of the putt, the only area of true precision is the first inch the ball travels. If you’ve read the putt correctly, all you need to do is make the ball roll over a spot one inch in front of it. Be painstaking about that inch. At address, keep your eyes riveted on the spot. Your biggest priority is to keep your eyes still until the ball has traveled one inch past impact. This will keep your head from moving, which is a cardinal sin. Even if you feel anxious, focusing on that all-important spot will guarantee a smooth stroke.
stockton

9. Forget about bad greens

Under pressure, all of your senses are heightened. There is a tendency to see more obstacles than usual along the line — scuff marks, ball marks, footprints, disruptions in the grain and so on. Ignore them. If you strike the ball solidly and impart a true roll, the chances of anything knocking the putt off line are remote. If a spike mark is so significant that you’re sure it will affect the roll, play a shade less break and roll the ball with a bit more speed to avoid it.

10. Take advice with a grain of salt
Most amateur golf is played at four-ball match play. If you’re going to use your partner for reading greens, make sure he knows how you read putts and how firmly you hit them. The best partner I ever had was Al Geiberger. We did well in the old “CBS Golf Classic” series, because our putting styles were similar. When Al said, “It breaks half a cup,” I knew he said it knowing how hard I would stroke the putt. Whether it’s a member-guest or your weekend game, see how the two of you read putts. Make it a focal point of your partnership.

Read More http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2008-10/stocktonrules#ixzz1fdC8mhRx

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Instruction

Me and My Golf: Top 5 driving tips (plus one of our biggest giveaways ever)

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In this week’s Impact Show, we share with you five of our best driving tips that have helped many of our students and online members knock shots off their scores!

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Instruction

WATCH: When to chip with your 60-degree wedge

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In this video, Ryan Benzel, PGA Pro at Sahalee Country Club shows you when to use your 60-degree wedge around the green.

 

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Instruction

Is your “dad bod” ruining your golf swing? This workout can help

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This article was co-written with Nick Buchan, owner of the excellent online resource Stronger Golf

If you are a working father, I’m willing to bet that over the years, golf and working out have slipped down the priority list a few spots. While commitments such as work, family, more work and kid’s taxi service have increased, so the time for working on your game and body has dwindled to almost nothing.

This has likely left you feeling a little disconnected from your former athletic prime, we know that sedentary lifestyles are strongly linked to decreased muscle mass, reduced strength and increased BMI. This will likely have a negative impact on club-head speed and fatigue levels during the round.

Worst still, all that time spent chained to the office desk has likely ingrained some poor postural habits and negatively affected your ability to turn in the golf swing. Fixed posture is thought to be a key contributor to neck and back pain, generally causes all manor of aches, niggles and discomfort, whilst placing a general ‘lock’ on your mobility.

Sitting at a desk all day (in fact staying in any one position for long periods of time) causes your body to adapt to make that position more efficient. For example, sitting all day may cause your hip flexors to become short and weak (due to lack of load on them), your glutes to shut off and your spine to flex forward, which in turn can result in anterior pelvic tilt, which leads to your hamstrings and low back feeling ‘tight.’

As you can see this postural pattern has pretty far reaching consequences, all of which contribute to those niggles you get from daily life and when you do get a chance to play, negatively affect your ability to execute the golf swing of old.

Further, the lack of systematic load on your musculature is causing a lack of tissue resiliency – i.e. those aches and pains you’ve been experiencing – as well as leading to reduced force output. This is an issue as force output is the vital ingredient for moving fast, the ultimate determinant of club-head speed, and even correlates to how long you will live!

If and when you do get the chance to practice or play, the postural inhibition, loss of strength and lack of golf movement pattern practice are likely to be major restrictive factors in the outcome.

The good news is (as you probably already know), a solid exercise routine can counteract the detrimental effects of your lifestyle that have manifested themselves in “Dad Bod Syndrome.”

The bad news is, you’ve tried that before and can never quite make it stick. You’ve likely been left disappointed about the falling standard of your game and frustrated at the lack of time available to fix the problems.

The Proposed Solution

Work out in way that is quick, easy, efficient, doesn’t require much equipment and targets the following priority areas for improvement:

  • Lose some body fat
  • Gain mobility in T-Spine, Shoulders and Hips
  • Improve Posture
  • Re-gain some basic strength
  • Practice a quality golf movement pattern

This quick and easy, circuit style workout ticks the outlined points above. It doesn’t take forever (less than 45 minutes) and requires minimal gym equipment. Aim to complete it 2-4 times per week, depending on other commitments.

Format: Circuit

Total Time: 45 mins

Equipment: Med-ball, Kettlebell, 41 inch Power Band, GravityFit TPro

Rounds: 3 to 5

Rest between exercises: 10 secs

Rest between rounds: 90 secs

Exercise Guide Playlist (you can shuffle between videos)

Warm-Up

1 round, 30 secs each

Half-kneeling alternate reach

Windshield wiper

PNF diagonal pull-apart

T-Spine rotation with groin stretch

Quadruped rock backs

Bar hang

Cross connect march

Strength Circuit

Exercise 1 – Med-ball slam

Priority – power

Equip – med-ball

Reps – 10

Exercise 2 – Split Stance Turns

Priority – golf movement patterns

Equip – TPro

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 3 – Kettlebell Swing

Priority – basic strength / conditioning

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 20

Exercise 4 – Push Up with Band

Priority – basic strength

Equip – power band

Reps – 12

Exercise 5 – 1 Arm Row

Priority – basic strength

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 6 – Pallof Press

Priority – basic strength

Equip – power band

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 7 – Suitcase Carry

Priority – strength/ conditioning

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 30 seconds each side

To progress simply aim to do more reps in the same time and/or increase the duration of each exercise and/or increase the number of rounds in each circuit and/or reduce the rest periods and/or increase the weight/load used.

This workout isn’t special or innovative or entertaining. But it is practical, and it is useful, and it will help to reduce and reverse the effects of “Dad Bod Syndrome.”

 

 

If you would like something more tailored to your specific needs, check out the training program options at Stronger Golf or Golf Fit Pro

For more information on the featured equipment, check out the links below:

Med-ball

Kettlebell

41 Inch Power Band

GravityFit TPro

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